Carmen Messerlian
Primary Faculty

Carmen Messerlian

Assistant Professor of Environmental Reproductive, Perinatal, and Pediatric Epidemiology

Environmental Health

Other Positions

Faculty Affiliate in the Department of Epidemiology


Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health


I am a passionate and curious scientist committed to understanding how the world around us impacts human reproductive health and development. My research at the Harvard Chan School of Public Health is focused on examining the extent to which environmental exposures affect a couple's ability to achieve conception, maintain pregnancy, and deliver healthy offspring. I investigate both paternal and maternal exposures to phthalates, phenols, and other emerging chemicals and their mixtures on ovarian reserve, time to pregnancy, pregnancy loss, preterm birth, birth weight, placental parameters, and child development outcomes. I have specialized in reproductive, perinatal and pediatric epidemiology, infertility, assisted reproduction, and causal methods with perinatal application. I also actively collaborate with leading bench scientists to conduct translational research to examine the underlying biological pathways that may lead to infertility and adverse pregnancy and child health outcomes.

As the Director of the Scientific Early Life Environmental Health & Development (SEED) Program, my team works to understand how the environment impacts reproductive health from the very earliest stages of life - starting from the formation of gametes and embryos - to the birth of infants and throughout childhood. My goal is to generate impactful science on the role of the environment on early life health and development across the reproductive life course. My mission is to use cutting-edge evidence to inform clinical practice, translate science into policy action, and implement prevention strategies to improve the health of mothers, fathers, and their children.

Prior to joining the Harvard Chan School, I worked as a pediatric nurse at the Montreal Children's Hospital and as a maternal-child public health consultant for local, state, and national governments. I am enthusiastic teacher and mentor, and a lifelong learner. I strive to learn and grow from every person I encounter; my motivation is always one of understanding and giving, equally in my pursuit of science as in humanity.

SM Mentor of the Year Award2019-2020
Harvard Chan School of Public Health, Department of Epidemiology

Outstanding Faculty Teaching Award 2017-2018
Harvard Chan School of Public Health, Department of Environmental Health

Post-Doctoral Fellowship Award, Canadian Institutes of Health Research2014-2017
Canadian Institutes of Health Research

Bisby Fellowship Prize, Canadian Institutes of Health Research2014-2016
Canadian Institutes of Health Research

James O. Maria Meadows Fellowship, McGill University, Faculty of Medicine 2012-2013
McGill University, Faculty of Medicine

Doctoral Research Award, Canadian Institutes of Health Research2008-2012
Canadian Institutes of Health Research

Provost Graduate Fellowship, McGill University, Department of Epidemiology2008-2009
McGill University, Department of Epidemiology


Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Phthalate Exposure and Preterm Birth: A Pooled Study of Sixteen U.S. Cohorts.

Welch BM, Keil AP, Buckley JP, Engel SM, James-Todd T, Zota AR, Alshawabkeh AN, Barrett ES, Bloom MS, Bush NR, Cordero JF, Dabelea D, Eskenazi B, Lanphear BP, Padmanabhan V, Sathyanarayana S, Swan SH, Aalborg J, Baird DD, Binder AM, Bradman A, Braun JM, Calafat AM, Cantonwine DE, Christenbury KE, Factor-Litvak P, Harley KG, Hauser R, Herbstman JB, Hertz-Picciotto I, Holland N, Jukic AMZ, McElrath TF, Meeker JD, Messerlian C, Michels KB, Newman RB, Nguyen RHN, O'Brien KM, Rauh VA, Redmon B, Rich DQ, Rosen EM, Schmidt RJ, Sparks AE, Starling AP, Wang C, Watkins DJ, Weinberg CR, Weinberger B, Wenzel AG, Wilcox AJ, Yolton K, Zhang Y, Ferguson KK.

Environ Health Perspect. 2023 Dec. 131(12):127015. PMID: 38117586


Probing links between trauma and reproductive health harms

Early life trauma is an important and overlooked cause of adverse reproductive health outcomes in women such as endometriosis, premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), and infertility, according to a recent investigation from researchers at Harvard Chan School.

Protecting against ‘forever chemicals’

The U.S. Environmental Protectional Agency has proposed strict new limits on six types of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in drinking water. Public health experts are positive about the move but say that, ultimately, all types of these…